Michael Jordan Scoring Record With Bulls Has Zach LaVine Convinced He Wasn’t Human: ‘Dude Wasn’t Real’
Zach LaVine has established himself as the best scorer in Chicago Bulls history in the post-Michael Jordan era since joining the team in 2017. Yes, even better than Derrick Rose, who became the youngest MVP in NBA history in 2011.
LaVine has played in 234 games with the Bulls. He already has 66 30-point games, good for third in franchise history behind Jordan and Bob Love. Rose, who appeared in 406 games with the Bulls, registered 48 30-point games with his hometown team.
Behind the stellar play of LaVine, the Bulls are well on their way to making the playoffs this season, and the two-time Slam Dunk champion will most likely make his second straight All-Star team.
LaVine has been a scoring machine since arriving in Chicago, but he has a long way to go before catching the Bulls’ record for most 30-point games. That title belongs to none other than Jordan, and when LaVine was alerted by Statmuse how many more 30-point games he needs to catch MJ, the UCLA product had the perfect response.
Zach LaVine on Michael Jordan: “Dude wasn’t real”
During his incredible run with the Bulls, Jordan scored at least 30 points 537 times. When LaVine found that out, he couldn’t believe it, replying to the Statmuse tweet by saying, “Dude wasn’t real.”
Jordan averaged 31.5 points over 930 games with the Bulls. He won 10 scoring titles and is the NBA’s all-time leader in points per game (30.1).
His Airness scored 29,277 points with Chicago. Although LaVine is only in his fifth season with the Bulls, he’s already fourth in franchise history in 3-pointers. He actually passed Jordan earlier this season and will likely pass Scottie Pippen for third place soon.
LaVine is second in Bulls history in points per game (24.7). He has a chance to go down as one of the best players in franchise history when it’s all said and done. However, he has to channel his inner Jordan and lead the team to wins when it matters.
Zach LaVine has never been to the playoffs
The Bulls have the second-best record in the Eastern Conference. Barring a major collapse, they will make the postseason for the first time since acquiring LaVine from the Minnesota Timberwolves in the blockbuster Jimmy Butler trade. Jordan never missed the playoffs with the Bulls in his two stints in the Windy City. If LaVine and Co. want to be taken seriously, they have to finish the season strong and make some noise in the postseason.
LaVine has proved that he’s an electric scorer. However, playoff basketball is different than regular-season hoops. The game slows down, and half-court execution is at a premium. In the postseason, Jordan was a force of nature due to his mid-range mastery. He averaged 33.4 points and is the all-time postseason leader in points per game. Since LaVine is a three-level scorer, he should be able to carry over his regular-season success into the playoffs.
After all, Phoenix Suns star Devin Booker made his postseason debut last campaign, and he averaged 27.3 points. LaVine and Booker have similar games, so the latter’s success bodes well for the former.
No logical Bulls fan is expecting LaVine to put up Jordan-type numbers. However, they hope the Washington native will have better team success than Superman had to begin his postseason career.
Michael Jordan began his playoff career 1-9
Jordan went 6-0 in the NBA Finals. However, he began his playoff career 1-9. The Bulls lost to the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round of the 1985 playoffs (3-1) and the Boston Celtics in the first round of the 1986 (3-0) and 1987 playoffs (3-0).
Black Jesus didn’t win his first playoff series until 1988, when Scottie Pippen was on the team. Jordan and Pippen never lost in the first round of the playoffs and only lost four postseason series. Luckily for LaVine, DeMar DeRozan and Nikola Vucevic can help him once the 2022 playoffs start. The two All-Stars have played in the postseason before and can support LaVine during crunch time, a luxury Jordan didn’t have in 1985, 1986, and 1987.
Odds are LaVine won’t catch Jordan’s record of 537 30-point games. However, the shooting guard isn’t playing in the NBA to break records. He wants to turn the Bulls into winners again, and slowly but surely, he is accomplishing that goal.
Now, the next step for LaVine is to lead Chicago to a playoff series win, something Jordan did religiously with the Bulls.
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference